“In moments like these, we want to stand by our clients; low-income entrepreneurs who, in difficult situations like what we are currently facing, need accessible solutions more than ever, so they could move forward with their businesses and improve their lives”, BBVAMF CEO.
Aligned with its social purpose ‒the sustainable development of entrepreneurs under vulnerable conditions‒ and in light of COVID-19’s progress in Latin America, BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s six institutions in five countries in the region (Colombia, Peru, Chile, Dominican Republic and Panama) have adopted urgent and necessary measures to help its 2.2 million clients cope with this situation.
These measures, which depend on the decisions on finance and mobility adopted by each country, are aligned with the three objectives that govern BBVAMF’s work during these times: the health of the whole group’s 8,300 employees along with its clients; the continuity of operations, needed so that the institutions could maintain their support to the entrepreneurs served; and the medium and long term sustainability, which would allow the Foundation to keep on fulfilling its purpose.
Regarding employees’ protection, almost all of the administrative personnel are working from home and flexibility is fostered for an easier adaptation to the circumstances. Resources are also mobilized where most needed. Consequently, office hours have been adjusted and workers’ physical presence have been reduced.
For the entrepreneurs, action plans have been put into place and are constantly adapting to changes in each country. As of the moment, all efforts are concentrated towards clients with outstanding loans, who could avail of a credit line and reschedule their payments. Grace periods ranging from two to four months have been opened, with payment flexibility adapted to each clients’ situation.
Furthermore, BBVAMF’s six institutions offer various customer service channels like mobile banking applications, virtual office through webpage and direct assistance from loan officers. To facilitate access to cash, clients may dispose of BBVA (in Colombia and Peru) and other banks’ automatic teller machines. Banking correspondents are also available during this time, to increase service points for entrepeneurs.
These measures are anticipated to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the entrepreneurs’ businesses, given that it is usually their only source of income. “In moments like these, we want to stand by our clients; low-income entrepreneurs who, in difficult situations like what we are currently facing, need accessible solutions more than ever, so they could move forward with their businesses and improve their lives”, BBVAMF CEO, Javier M. Flores, points out.